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IP/09/1517

Brussels, 14 October 2009

New report explores the state of arts education in the EU

The European Commission today presented a study which gives a detailed picture of the aims and objectives of arts education, its organisation, the provision of extra-curricular activities as well as initiatives for the development of such education at school. It includes information on pupil assessment and teacher education in the arts.

Arts and Cultural Education at School in Europe, which is based on the work of the Eurydice network, was produced by the Commission in the context of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. It covers full time compulsory education in 30 European countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

The European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Maroš Šefčovič, said: " Arts education favours the development of creative abilities by encouraging learners to experiment, express themselves, cooperate, overcome problems and take initiatives. Consequently, strengthening arts education for the development of our creative and innovative potential must be a core component of any education strategy for economic competitiveness, social cohesion and individual well-being."

Key findings:

The minimum taught time devoted to arts education is quite low, especially at lower secondary level

The most commonly taught art forms in schools are visual arts and music, which are compulsory parts of the arts curriculum in all countries. As far as all artistic areas are concerned, approximately half of the European countries dedicate between 50 and 100 hours per year to the arts at primary level. Countries falling significantly out of this range are on the one hand Luxembourg, which provides up to 36 hours and on the other hand Portugal, which provides up to 165 hours. At lower secondary level, the taught time is slightly lower, with around half of the countries dedicating approximately 25 to 75 hours per year to the arts.

In some countries, primary school teachers might not be trained to teach all art-forms included in the school curriculum

In most countries, primary school teachers delivering arts education teach all or most curriculum subjects. In the majority of countries, they receive training in more than one arts subject. However, in some countries, primary teachers might not have received appropriate education and training to teach all facets of the arts included in the curriculum.

Ad hoc initiatives and extracurricular activities can help promoting arts education in schools

Many countries report initiatives and projects with the aim of encouraging arts education. In Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria and Norway, national organisations and networks have been specifically set up to promote arts and cultural education.

In addition, many countries encourage schools and other organisations to provide extra-curricular arts activities. However, obstacles might exist for pupils to access such activities, particularly in terms of funding. This is why national or local governments in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Austria, Portugal and Finland provide full funding for or subsidise extra-curricular arts activities.

The Eurydice Network ( www.Eurydice.org ) provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 35 national units based in all 31 countries participating in the EU's Lifelong Learning programme (EU Member States, EEA countries and Turkey) and is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, which drafts its publications and databases.

To know more:

The full study Arts and cultural education at school in Europe [available in French and English]

Printed copies of the study in English and French will be available from December 2009. The German translation will be available shortly afterwards.

Detailed National Descriptions will be available www.eurydice.org [14 October 2009)

European Commission: Education and training

MEMO/09/448


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